Christian Country music duo Joey and Rory Feek were given the Sagamore of the Wabash award Wednesday. The Sagamore of the Wabash is an honorary award created by the state of Indiana during the term of Governor Ralph F. Gates (1945 to 1949). Joey Feek is suffering from the last stages of terminal cancer. Currently staying at a hospice, the Feeks are making the most of their time together.
The term sagamore was the term used by Algonquian-speaking American Indian tribes of the northeastern United States for the tribal chiefs. The Wabash is the "State River" of Indiana and major tributary of the Ohio River. Each governor since Gates has presented the certificates in his own way. Until 2006, the award was the highest honor which the Governor of Indiana bestows, a personal tribute usually given to those who rendered distinguished service to the state or to the governor.
State Reps. Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) and Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) presented the award to Joey's father Jack Martin, who agreed to accept the award on the couple's behalf.
"The Sagamore of the Wabash is the highest distinction in Indiana, and it's an honor to present it to Joey and Rory," Borders said.
Despite the Feeks not winning a Grammy for Best Country Duo or Group, the people in their hometown of Alexandria are still showing their love and support for the couple. "Oh it's a small town, USA, always been. It's just like a big family," said Sherrie Day, a Joey + Rory fan.
Signs of support and prayers are all over the small town and Joey's picture is on magazine covers at local restaurants.
"For a small town, we've had a couple of celebrities but nothing on Joey's scale," said Jim Wehsollek, a Joey + Rory fan.